Romantic Style Composers: Franz Schubert Essay

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(1) Franz Schubert composed Gretchen am Spinnrade (Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel) in 1814, when he was only seventeen years old. The song is sung by a soprano, and the only accompaniment to the voice is a piano playing a constant rhythmic pattern (“OnMusic”). (2) Schubert was one of the most prominent composers in the Romantic era. He was the first composer to live off only the money he got from composing. He wrote many compositions during his short lifetime, especially art songs (“OnMusic”). (3) In the Romantic era the compositions were very expressive and inventive. The Romantic composers experimented with already existing forms, and dramatic expressiveness. This grew out of the improvement of instruments and the newly invented…show more content…
The composers were inspired by nature, legends, and the supranational, poems and stories (An Appreciation 257, 263). (4) Some of the characteristics from the Romantic era used in Gretchen am Spinnrade, are variety of tempo; the tempo speeds up and slows down throughout the entire song. The piece is programme music and the subject, based on Goethe’s play Faust, describes an unrequested love, a longing for a love that might be lost, a subject used by many other Romantic composers. The dynamics are mostly gradual throughout the song, except when the song returns to the chorus, then it is terraced. During the Romantic era the piano was improved and it made it easier to play notes quicker, a great help in Gretchen am Spinnrade where sixteenth notes are played constantly throughout the piece. It is possible to hear which composer wrote the piece, due to the melody being very lyrical, one of the characteristics of Schubert’s music, which makes Gretchen am Spinnrade individualistic and self-expressed (“OnMusic”). The piece modulates to many different keys, helping to build tension and express emotion, even though many Romantic composers build tension with chromatics and unstable chords. Gretchen am Spinnrade is a composition written in the earlier Romantic period and therefore does not have all of the traits common in the Romantic era. Some characteristics not represented in this piece are nationalism or

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